It wasn't anything new-- people not listening. He had become hardened to it, as the med student does to the routine of cutting the skulls of cadavers with a hacksaw. It was inevitable that Thistle would run into people that looked to him as though they could use a story, but that didn't mean that they would agree with him. That didn't mean that they'd want to listen.
He didn't always tell a good story, either. Sometimes he was distracted by the events of the day, or by a meandering attention span. Sometimes he'd drift off in the middle of a sentence and forget what he was talking about. That tends to undermine your credibility. And since he moved around so much, there wasn't much time for credibility checks anyway. Not enough time to undermine something that hasn't been built yet in the first place.
But today... He had seen that man sitting there, reading the newspaper, looking like he was just living out of sheer habit. The same news, the same old breakfast. The same old company. Thistle knew this guy could use some enlightenment, a little anecdote, something... And he had tried to tell him a story, tried to get it across in a small, easy to swallow capsule. And he felt like he was connecting with him, like there was a genuine fiery curiosity in the man. But something had made him pause. Something had held his tongue.
He had thought about telling the man how he had felt that he was insane for quite sometime, but that he felt differently about it now. He wanted to tell him about how he could see many things at once, that he could imagine in several dimensions. But he couldn't speak.
Thistle sat and watched as this man, a static pattern, a person who had existed in this manner with little variance for probably the last ten years or so, walk out of the restaurant as he had probably done so many times before, with the same, bland, "back to the grind" attitude he had held for years. And he had watched as the man drove away, and watched as the man's life came to an end.
Thistle had foreseen the event that ended the man's life.
But the real weirdness that had stood out to Thistle that day, what had really turned his mind over, was how strong an impulse he had had to get up and stop the man from leaving. He had nearly broken out in a sweat, deliberating over it. Many years had passed since he last had a similar impulse.
Ultimately, of course, he didn't act. He had thought about the potential to be hospitalized (even institutionalized) if he was too ambitious, and how hard it would be to convince the man. No credibility.
So he had drank his water, imagined the flow of time and events, envisioned the interstate. Soon, out of fear of truth, Thistle had to leave, to just be moving. "I need a transition," he told himself as he pushed through the door in the wall and walked through the space, the door swinging closed behind him.
He cleared his mind and walked steadily down the road.